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We are getting into Hanoi airport at 7:40 (AM) and a potential cruise is leaving at 12:30 with a 12:15 start of boarding. Apparently there is a new toll road that brings the drive time down to 2.5 hours.

Provided we hire a private car with direct airport pick up would the following time line be realistic?

  1. Arrive 7:40 AM
  2. In the car by 8:40 AM (60 minutes for immigration, collect bags, customs and locating the driver)
  3. Arrive Halong Bay by 11:10 AM

That would gives us a one hour of buffer for delays, long lines, traffic issues, etc. This would be on a Sunday morning in January, so probably not the worst rush hour.

I'd appreciate any feedback especially from people have recently arrived in Hanoi on immigration/bags/custom speed and who have used the new toll road.

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Google maps says you might not make it on time. On a regular weekday (Monday for example) it says you should leave HAN aiport at 08:00 to arrive at 11:00 in Ha Long Bay. For a cruise that leaves at 12:30, let's say you have to be there by 12:00, you would have to leave at 08:50 which is ten minutes after your planned 60 minutes to deal with immigration and luggage collection. Overall, this seems like you would be cutting it fairly short. Your best bet is to book a cruise which leaves later during the day.

  • Or the next day, flights have the habit of being delayed as well. – Willeke Sep 9 '19 at 4:31

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